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Woman kicked out of court for breast-feeding, court apologizes

Published On: Feb 07 2014 08:36:52 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 07 2014 08:45:16 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A Shasta County mother said she is embarrassed and offended after she was asked to leave a Shasta County courtroom for breast-feeding her baby.

“I got up humiliated and on the verge of tears cause it’s embarrassing,” said Ariel Ruggles, mother of the six-month-old baby girl. “I've never had anybody ask me to leave."

Ariel Ruggles said she was at a Shasta County Superior Court courtroom supporting her brother.

Ruggles said she had just sat down and covered herself to feed her six-month-old baby girl.

"The bailiff came over to me in front of everybody, he did not pull me to the side,” said Ruggles. “He came over and told me that I was not suppose to be breast-feeding, that I needed to leave and go into the lobby, do it over there."

She said she felt humiliated as she walked out into the hall.

"I nurse all the time so it’s completely natural to me, so for somebody to come up to me and say hey you need to stop, this is unnatural, it really hurt my feelings," said Ruggles.

Courthouse officials agree with the mother, she had every right to breast-feed there.

The Court Executive Officer, Melissa Fowler-Bradley acknowledged that they were in the wrong. She said the marshal who asked Ruggles to leave was new and in training and had done what he thought was right.

"He was not aware that there is a code section right on point in California that allows mothers to breast-feed," Fowler-Bradley.

That code is the California code 43.3, which allows women to breast-feed in public places.

Court officials said it was a big mistake and they'll use as it as an example in training so it won't happen again.

"We appreciate her actually coming forward and letting us know that that happened so that we can use it as a training tool and make sure that all of our courtroom understands that it's perfectly OK to breast-feed in a courtroom,” said Fowler-Bradley.

The judge in that courtroom was never aware that the incident happened. The Shasta County Superior Court will be sending an apology letter to Ariel Ruggles.